Children of Mortals
His Devout Grace Prince Tristian Armant of Sirion, Alderman of Hagrihold, Bearer of the Globe in the Church of the God of Kings
There's a person somewhere under all these titles.
The son and heir of King Robern of Sirion, Prince Tristian is a serious-seeming young man of twenty. His tutors report, flatteringly, that he is an “excellent learner”—although he does not excel in anything in particular, he has the attention and patience of a scholar, and will do something until he gets it right. He has become an adept prepared caster, although he seems to lack the disposition necessary for wild casting.
The lordlings in his retinue note that he is virtuous, refraining from the drinking, drugs and whoring that a prince might easily indulge in; they say it with a little bit of a sneer, since he is respected but not particularly enjoyed by his fellows. Advisors to the king note that the responsibilities of royal life seem to weigh heavily on his mind already; his youthful face often bears the haggard look of sleepless nights.
During his unfortunate “sideburns” phase
By night, Tristian becomes Ike, a boy from the sticks who hires himself out for all kinds of night labor in Hagrihold, frequently unloading ships at the docks or running errands for Mary Lively. He’s a good worker, but has a reputation for running his mouth, drinking and smoking his entire pay, getting into fights, and disappearing at dawn, presumably to sleep it off in one of the local hostels.
Reading. Not shown: 12 armed guards hiding in bushes.
Tristian himself is somewhere between the roles that he plays. He loves the physical luxuries of royal living, the access to fine art and culture, and he nerds out over public policy. But he feels most at home antagonizing a man twice his size or drunkenly debating a raving street prophet. Living a dual life isn’t sustainable, but it’s what keeps him sane, for now.
Tristian was born in January of the Year of Lonely Children, one of the first. As best he has managed to reconstruct, King Robern adopted him from a couple of fisherfolk, Gyles and Merna Folsey, although whether he was bought, given, or stolen from them is unclear. He was baptized as Tristian later that year and crowned as the prince shortly thereafter. His adoption is a secret kept from all but the king’s child-procurer, the king, the queen, and more recently, Tristian himself.
As a child, Tristian was spoiled and self-assured, smart enough but lax in his studies, and fond of entertainments. He was fairly close with the queen, but only saw King Robern perhaps once before the age of twelve. When he was six, his younger sister Oleandra was born, and the queen began to visibly lose interest in him. Their conflict came to a head when Oleandra was granted the title of Duchess of Sentinel’s Port, his adopted mother’s home island, a title which Tristian had expected to receive. His maternal uncle Ados argued with his mother over the choice, and later asked Tristian if he knew of anything he had done to displease his mother enough to warrant her comment that she “wanted to keep [the island] in the family.”
Tristian began asking questions, at which point the king stepped in and informed him that he was adopted, but that he should cease investigating and tell no one. Tristian continued investigating in secret, and eventually found his birth mother, now a widow, living in a fishing town near Bistle. He never arranged to meet her, but did set up an anonymous fund to supply her with money for the rest of her life. Choosing not to meet her was an agonizing decision for him, but he decided it would be best for her to not have to lose her son a second time, or feel alienated by the prince he has become.
It was around this time that Tristian began sneaking out at night. His motivations are not entirely clear to him, but he rationalizes it as research into what life is like for ordinary people in the Theocracy of Sirion, a kind of vital research into the life and needs of The Common Man. He also just likes the feeling of being able to move freely without the mantle of his authority.
During the day, he pushes himself to learn the business of statecraft, and has become fascinated by his head of household Thich Cragmath, a common man who has risen to a position of great prominence in King Robern’s court through his own merits. Tristian frequently asks this man to craft additional lessons and assignments for him, drawn from his real-life experiences as a mercenary, merchant, and diplomat, and so it is not uncommon to see Tristian doing something odd like walking around blindfolded or practicing languages that princes usually don’t bother learning, like the language of the Orcs. He also spends a good deal of time with Brix Saltmaker, his bodyguard, when she’s not having an episode of narcolepsy.